Every home should have a well-stocked medicine cabinet or first-aid kit to turn to in emergencies. Here’s what you should have in yours.
Creams, salves and ointments
1. An antiseptic liquid
Why: To clean and disinfect open wounds. Brands include Dettol and Savlon.
You should know: Immediate cleaning with an antiseptic at the correct dilution (read the label) reduces the chance of an infection.
2. An antibiotic ointment
Why: To prevent bacterial infection in an open wound and promote wet healing. Brands include Bactroban and Fucidin.
3. Muscle cream
Why: To help ease the pain of pulled or painful muscles. Brands include Deep Heat and Reparil.
4. Burn dressing
Why: To reduce the pain and speed up the healing of burns. Burn shield has a range of dressings, gels and sprays.
You should know: Before applying the dressing, first cool the burn with cool water, not ice.
5. Antihistamine ointment
Why: For bites, stings and rashes. An example brand is Anthisan Cream.
6. Saline solution
Why: Useful for flushing foreign objects out of eyes or treating sinus congestion.
7. Your preferred painkiller
Why: For mild to moderate pain relief, take your pick of the three leading over-the-counter painkillers, aspirin (e.g. Disprin), paracetamol (e.g. Panado) and ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen).
You should know: If you find that you are using a certain type of medication regularly, discuss with your doctor or pharmacist.
8. A child-friendly painkiller
Why: For pain relief in children, stock children’s paracetamol (Calpol or Panado Syrup) or ibuprofen (Nurofen) suspensions.
You should know: Aspirin is not recommended for children under 16 as it can cause a rare but dangerous disease called Reye’s Syndrome.
Why: Antacids like Tums or Enos provide relief from heartburn.
10. Anti-nausea medication
Why: To prevent vomiting and nausea. Brands include Valoid or Emex. You might want to include a medication for stomach cramps, like Buscopan.
11. Antihistamine tablets
Why: For hayfever, allergies and hives. Brands include Deselex and Allergex.
You should know: Drowsiness is a common side-effect of antihistamines, but there are non-drowsy options available.
15. Dressings (plasters, sterile gauze, medicine tape and cotton wool)